I thought I had the flu. I self-righteously didn’t get the flu shot. I would have gotten so scolded. Turns out that it wasn’t the flu, but perhaps a case of food poisoning? Or just some weird bug? I had eaten at Jonesy’s EatBar – shrimp, on a Monday. What an idiot. I didn’t have to read Kitchen Confidential to know better than that, but I just forgot. But really, they shouldn’t be serving me fish old enough to make me feel like death. I often knowingly choose to eat questionable food, but thoroughly questionable I’m kinda pissed about. Besides, just because I’m lazy and eat questionable food myself doesn’t mean that I want to go to a restaurant and pay out the nose for questionable food. I will forgo that place from here on out. It was nice knowing you Jonesy’s.
January Whole30: totally failed. The other two times I’ve done it, I didn’t even come close to failing. It was easy, I felt great, I didn’t even want to stop. But this month, I wasn’t in the right mindset and all my excuses seemed really viable in that state. Bleh. At least I’m not worse off for the time I did spend doing it. But still, I feel like the worst New Years resolutioner. At least it’s 60 degrees right now. I feel good about that. But I don’t feel good about the boatload of chocolate chips I just ate. Dammit.
Confit, eh? Is it a shame to not have made carnitas? Fatty pork, a vat of lard, and a blog post to create. Two out of three beg for carnitas, but the other one ruled out. Confit is a preservation method, and an exceptionally wonderful one at that. I love fermented and cured foods, but I have a special place in my heart for foods cooked and preserved in fat…and then rendered crispy. The fat you use for this is flexible. It feels appropriate to use lard, but I didn’t have enough, so I used about 1 cup of clarified butter. You could also use duck fat, goose fat, or a combination of the above. And as for cut of pork, you could use shoulder, too.
country style pork ribs confit
adapted from Mark Bittman
1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
15 allspice berries
10 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons thyme
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 teaspoons coarse or flaky sea salt
4 country style ribs, about 2 pounds
3 – 4 cups melted lard or other animal fat
1. In a mortar and pestle or a spice/coffee grinder grind the first three ingredients until coarsely ground. In a small bowl, mix the freshly ground spices with the remaining herbs, spices, and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, coat the pork with the spice rub. Cover and let sit for a day, or at least overnight.
3. When you’re ready to cook the pork, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pork in an oven-proof skillet. Pour lard over until pork is covered. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. The pork should be fork-tender.
4. At this point you can remove the pork and place in a container to be put in the fridge and cover it with the lard and let it mellow for several days. Or you can eat it, if you’re not patient, like me. Just continue to cook the ribs for another hour. They should be nicely browned and the fat rendered crispy. Let them drain on a plate before eating. If you are willing to let the pork sit before you eat it, you are a better man than me. When you’re ready for it, preheat the oven to 500. Remove the pork from the fat and wipe off the excess. Place in an over-proof pan and cook for about 15 minutes, until crispy.